What is social selling and how to apply it?
Social Selling: What is it?
Social selling is not just about registering on several social networks. Nor is it opening a LinkedIn page or getting maximum likes.
In commercial prospecting, social selling consists of using social networks linked to other techniques, such as an effective content strategy or inbound marketing, to convert and generate leads.
This "social" sales technique is a long process, which requires patience, especially for:
- search and find profiles that are consistent with your target.
- take the time to listen to your professional network.
- share useful and relevant information to the audience.
- interact with your prospects and bring them to the act of purchase.
Thanks to social selling, you will be able to find prospects, engage in conversations and develop your sales! How? By working on the pre-purchase of your prospects.
💡 The pre-purchase is a more or less long period (it all depends on the product or service) or the prospect goes fishing for information to sort it out before making a decision whether or not he wants to make a request for a demonstration, quote, appointment, etc ...
Indeed, if you had not noticed it yet, prospects are now very present on the internet and use it for their decision-making. They do as much research as possible, scrutinize the slightest opinion and search on social networks! So when you get in touch with a prospect via email, phone, or carrier pigeon, they already know what they want, pretty much.
He already knows the characteristics of the product / service he wants, the companies that meet his expectations, and perhaps even chose the offer that suits him and that interests him.
The objective of social selling is then not to leave your prospects without an answer to their question, and to be present throughout this pre-purchase stage: meeting the problem, available solutions and purchasing decision.
Be careful, however, social selling is not assailing your prospects with messages and publications that are not desired: this is called spam. And it is also not in order to collect a maximum of contacts, but to create a relationship of trust with your network by listening to it to manage to interact with it in the best way.
Social Selling: What are the advantages?
Today more and more Internet users are making their own opinion on an offer thanks to the internet and social networks. By putting a social selling strategy in place, you optimize your sales process, and will then be able to:
- Be attentive to the problems and needs of Internet users.
- Create relevant and interesting content showing your expertise.
- Offer solutions to the problems of your prospects.
- Share them at the right time, in the right place, and with the right people.
- Interact in the right way with your prospects.
Thanks to social selling, you control your commercial prospecting on social networks and manage to skillfully influence your audience. The more you are visible and seen as an expert in your field, the more likely you are to be contacted.
Social selling will allow you to advance your prospects in their reflection (meeting the problem, solutions available and purchase decision) to finally bring them to the act of purchase. Its objective is:
- help you identify new sales opportunities. This is the active listening phase.
- Distribute content, such as white papers, to inform your prospects. The goal is to position yourself as an expert in your industry.
- to build a relationship of trust with your network. You gradually become a reference in your market.
- to bring prospects forward in its sales cycle, precisely thanks to the information you have provided.
- to sell! All your actions must lead to this end goal. Social selling will allow you to sell via social networks.
Social selling is a major asset to win your prospecting and sales. This technique is perfectly suited to the new way of consuming Internet users who build an opinion on a product or service long before you have contacted them.
Conclusion: if you are absent from social networks, you will lose prospects as well as the amount of information you could retrieve about them (liked posts, shared, commented, subscription, interests, etc ...).
Social Selling: Listening is key!
The common point between social selling and social networks... This is the "social" part pardi! Who says social says relationship. And who says relationship says sharing.
You can't start social selling without social networks, that's clear. And for your strategy to work, you need to identify qualified leads. We agree on that. On the other hand, the rest is not easy for everyone...
For a social selling strategy to work, it is essential to listen to these prospects in order to be able to really meet their needs and problems. You need to bring them real added value and guide them through the process.
Social selling will help you above all to evaluate the profiles of your network and the reactions of your prospects on your social networks, and thus allow you to contact them in a personalized way, at the right time.
Today, Internet users are much more focused on their needs via social networks. If you are attentive enough, this information will allow you to engage in conversation with your prospects via appropriate messages, avoiding intrusive and banal canvassing.
You will have understood it: with social selling, guide your prospects towards the act of purchase. Social networks will allow you to listen to what is happening in your field of activity, identify Internet users likely to be interested in your offer, follow the slightest of their movement and detect the right time to bring them to the purchase.
Because the majority of the prospects you will meet on social networks will not be mature enough for you to harpoon them via a message extolling your merits and know-how.
Most will only know at the beginning of their reflection, which is "the encounter of the problem" without having begun to look for any solution. The challenge for you is then to create a relationship with your prospects and help them in this phase of reflection to gradually influence them to choose you, you!
It is then up to you to show your sales skills and hope to sell your service or product to your potential customers.
Social Selling: How to set it up?
1/ Organize yourself efficiently and optimize your profiles.
It's not easy to organize the management of your social networks, especially if you have several. We usually have other tasks to manage. So you have to structure, and for that there is an effective tool: the communication plan.
It will help you plan your publications, create your content and find your way around more easily among your various professional social networks.
But that's not all! Your profile also needs to be optimized. Indeed, why miss several opportunities by leaving your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook profile abundant? You must therefore work on the presentation of your profiles. Thus, you stand out and help your prospects to find you more easily, thanks to:
- A professional portrait photo,
- An impactful title,
- Highlighting your values (in writing or in images),
- A brief but attractive summary (background, achievements, skills),
- Relevant keywords,
- Links to your website for example.
You can also start by following blogs, newsletters, setting up Google alerts, following influential people in your field, etc...
2/ Target your audience accurately
Be careful, the goal is not to add an incalculable number of contacts without looking to know if they can match your target and become qualified prospects. Quantity does not necessarily rhyme with quality, so harvesting a maximum of contacts in spades will not help you win new customers.
To set up an effective social selling strategy, you need to have a clear idea of who your ideal customer is to know where to look and eliminate profiles that don't fit you. You must, therefore, if you have not yet done so, work on your buyer persona for your social selling strategy.
On the other hand, it is particularly interesting to have a very large network with all your commercial targets in relation to have access to contact details, expand your contact base and make your posts visible to a wider audience.
Once you know who you're talking to, you can offer interesting and relevant information to your network! A good content strategy will help you show your expertise and get prospects to get in touch with you.
Be careful though, managing multiple social networks can be time-consuming and time-consuming. So choose the ones your target uses and focus on them. No need to publish everything that passes through your hands, your prospects are looking for content that will be useful to them.
3/ Start the discussion with your network
Once present on social networks, start sharing content on it! And this regularly, depending on the platform on which you publish, to attract your prospects. If you have defined your target carefully, she will necessarily be interested in the topics and problems you will deal with, because this is precisely what she must face.
Attention, relevant, interesting, quality content, put in front of the eyes of the prospect at the right time and in the right place. This is the basis of Social Selling. By publishing content in line with the needs of your target, you show that you master the subject, you value your expertise and you bring your prospects to trust you.
So, when they have the desire or the need for a solution to their problem, they will instinctively think of you because you will have proven your value to your audience!
Especially since, if you manage to build a solid reputation quickly, word of mouth will bring you new qualified prospects.
Interacting regularly with your network is essential in a social selling strategy. You put your skills and professionalism first. Also, the more active you are, the better you will be remembered in case of need.
So, don't hesitate to start the conversation in groups, like, post comments and share the posts of your prospects. Because broadcasting content is good, but interacting with that of your network is even better!
On the one hand because by reacting to the publications of other Internet users and by interacting with other users you will be favored by the algorithms of the different platforms. But also because the more you are enterprising on your social networks, the more you will make yourself visible to your prospects.
So do not hesitate to comment on the posts of the competition and experts in your field of activity, you may be able to capture the attention of their audiences.
4 / Get in touch with your prospects
After capturing the attention of your target, and the latter seems receptive to your advances, you can get started and get in touch with it. You now have all the cards in hand to send the right message at the right time.
But how do you go about contacting prospects? Add contacts, we all know how to do it. Getting in touch with them is a little more subtle. Of course, typical messages without any customization are to be banned!
Luckily for you, there are a few tips and tricks to write a good message on LinkedIn - even if all social networks can be used in a social selling strategy - LinkedIn is still the most suitable platform, especially in BtoB.
One of our tips is the AIDA method. It will help you define a message template to follow to inspire a prospect to action.
At first, you will seek to attract the attention of your prospect by a hook. Once captured, you will arouse the interest of your recipient by explaining why you contact him, what problem you want to help him solve.
But for him to go from the "why not?" stage to the "I'm interested" stage, he must want to continue with strong arguments about you, your company and your offer. Finally, all you have to do is encourage him to take action, by offering him a free trial for example.
💡 Remember that the objective of social selling is to build a relationship of trust with your prospects. You have to appear more human, more accessible.
5/ Analyze returns through performance indicators
Once your strategy is launched, you will have to analyze the results to best manage it and improve it if necessary. Use the following data to identify what works and what doesn't:
- The number of prospects collected over a given period;
- Feedback from your actions on social media (likes, shares, comments);
- The engagement rate;
- The scope of publications;
- The signature rate from opportunities
Thanks to these different statistics, you will be able to use the technique of social selling to perfection and win new leads!
Be careful though, some might be tempted to add everyone and anyone in order to have a maximum of contacts for example, just to inflate the numbers. But in the end, it won't affect your conversion rate.
To help you analyze your strategy, you can use the indicator offered by LinkedIn: the Social Selling Index. It will give you ways to improve your actions, and thus boost your social selling strategy!